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It wasn’t until my 29th birthday that I realized I hated the way my body looked. That winter morning, I spent an hour struggling to get dressed. It took me less than a minute to choose the khakis, and then 45 minutes trying to find a cardigan and top that would hide my arms, stomach, neck, and anything else I felt was unsavory to the eyes of the world.
After an exhaustive search, I realized I didn’t own that the perfect top nor magical camouflage sweater. Turns out, there is no such thing.
Then while sitting at my kitchen island, waiting for my husband to return home and take me out to my obligatory birthday dinner, I caught a reflection of myself in the window. While others in my neighborhood looked adorable in their plaid, knee boots, and tights, there I was, looking like I was waiting for others to not notice how much of the abdominal snow beast I believed myself to be.
So there’s something you should know about my husband- he’s always late. So the longer I sat waiting for my husband the hotter I became. I pushing the sleeves of my cardigan up to my elbows for some relief, and as I moved my arms, I noticed something. Even though I was wearing a stifling hot cardigan to cover up my arm fat, I could still see my bat wings jiggle inside the fabric. My neck was still visible. As way my stomach. No matter what I did, it was all still there.
Since becoming a big girl in my teens, I’ve tried to cover my body with everything from baggy clothes to shapewear, even the beforementioned plus-size cardigan trick. But it was in that moment that I realized my cardigan hijinks weren’t fooling anyone. My jiggly bits might be covered in fabric, but every time I moved my arms and stomach were waving a cleverly acted Austin Powers “hello!” homage right along side them. I was trying to hide something that is impossible to conceal. And, my cardigan-come-comfort-blanket was making me hot and uncomfortable. So right there in my kitchen, I cried. I cried for comfort. I cried because I was drowning in fabric. I cried because I hated the way I looked.
I would like to say that in that very moment I stripped off my cardigan and liberated myself from the chains of self-hatred and suburban soccer mom mediocrity, but it wasn’t that easy. Even though I considered going back to my closet and slipping on an LBD and letting my arms flap in the wind like a flesh-toned flag, I still had my stomach to consider. After all, I had been hiding my body away since the 7th grade! My tangled web of body image issues needed to be unraveled slowly. I mean, would the world truly be ready for all my arm jelly? Worse still, was I prepared to show my stretch marks, fat rolls, and neck fat in all their glory?
Over time, I’ve realized that no matter how many cardigans and shapewear I bought, the truth remains: You can’t hide the fat. I’m a big girl with big arms and stretch marks. I can waste an hour each day trying to shield the world from the horror of my arms, or I can just learn to love my body instead.
It took me about a year to get comfy with sleeveless clothes, and a year longer to start my path to better health. But now, two years later and 61 pounds lighter, I feel pretty liberated. I no longer ruin beautiful dresses with intrusive shawls. I throw on cardigans only when cold. I wear tank tops to workout. I love wearing flowy tops. I even enjoy seeing my reflection in the mirror — a huge accomplishment for me.
So you may ask, what are my best tips for living your plus size body, just as you are? Well, I’ve got two tips for you:
Step 1: Get Aware. Stop believing the old lies you have been subconsciously telling yourself about how your body is not special enough, amazing enough, or precious enough to warrant your utmost attention and care right now. If you are telling yourself, “Perhaps someday when it looks better or thinner, and then I will take better care of my body,” you’re telling yourself an alternative fact. The time to love and care for your body is today.
Step 2: Learn to dress for your frame. Learning to find your personal sense of style as a plus size woman is essential. Consider wearing single colors from top to toes. Invest in statement jewelry. Get the right fit of your clothes, you want items that are neither too loose or too tight on your body frame. Scale your clothing to your body size; wear wider belts, bigger prints, and carry equal size handbags totes. Opt for v-neck shirts. Wear chunkier heels. Avoid shoes with ankle straps as they will cut across and visually shorten you. And most importantly, don’t avoid flowy, brightly colored fabrics. You can pull off beautiful, funky, seasonal pieces too!
Speaking of beautiful, funky, seasonal pieces, I want to mention one of my favorite new capsule wardrobe finds for this Spring season, the Babydoll Tunic from Cents of Style. Check out how I styled it below, as well as my style tips and inspiration for this plus size look!
How I styled it:
While being styled means you want to appear as if you’ve barely tried, but this doesn’t give us the liberty to live our lives in clandestine sweat ensembles! You know, the warmer the weather the more effortless and chic the look should be.
The easiest way to pull off effortless style is this:
When you wear a dressier top, such as the Babydoll Tunic from Cents of Style, pair it with something super casual and dressed down. A little uptown. A little boho. It’s as simple as that! The juxtaposition of pairing the casual with the formal always looks effortlessly chic. And that ladies, is what will make you look fabulous every single time!
So with that in mind, I paired a the Babydoll Tunic from Cents of Style with distressed Capri jeans and sandals. It’s super easy to dress this way. Just remember opposites always attract!
Why I selected this gorgeous babydoll tunic shirt:
Flowy tunics speak femininity to me. It just so soft and flirty. But while many of us tend to look at femininity in a way of being soft itself, I associate it with strength, bravery, and power. At least now, I do. Beautiful pieces such as this help me to think of myself as a powerful, passionate woman. In this stage in my life, I want to not only embraced my femininity but to acknowledge that I’m thriving in the skin I’m in. I’ve arrived!
Shopping this look:
Shop the Cents of Style Babydoll Tunic (also available in a keyhole variety) this Spring! These awesome tunics are available in fitting sizes 0 – 18, are available in fun, warm, seasonal shades that look amazing on a variety of body types, capsules, and styles!
Use the code:
Use the code is TOPSTORY and it will make each tunic only $19.95 + FREE SHIPPING. Please note, the code is valid 3/24 – 3/26 only.
So, everyone, I have to ask, with Summer right around the corner will you begin the journey of learning to accept, respect, and love your current body 100%, right now, extra weight and all? Will you embrace your inner diva and let those perfect just-as-you-are frames come out to sparkle this season? And will you indulge yourself this weekend with a little something from Cents of Style? I hope so.